Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Original Pirate Material - a retrospective.

The other day I was in Birmingham having an interview for a position at an exciting new store opening soon in the bullring, after the very promising (I really really really hope I get this job) interview I went into the Music and Video Exchange and went for a little flick round the CD's. I picked up a copy of The Streets first album and I immediately fell in love with it.
It might be a little late to do a 10 year anniversary blog as it was released on the 25th of May 2002 but I'm going to do one anyway.

2002 wasn't really the best period for UK Hip Hop, or arguably any Hip Hop. In the UK Roots Manuva had released his brilliant 'Run Come Save Me' album the year before and in the same year, Ms Dynamite released her land mark D├ębut 'A Little Deeper'. Both these album's caused an impact and (Roots Manuva's album in particular) both still sound fresh yet I think it was through the Streets that UK Hip Hop truly found it's voice, Mike Skinner's laid back delivery has clearly had an influence on rappers such as Ghostpoet or Wretch 32.

On the first few tracks Mike Skinner sounds as if he's playing word association games with himself, picking lines that sound good and compliment his flow every bit as well as they detail the lifestyles and stories he's describing, E.G "don't take the short-cut through the subway, it's pay or play, these geezers walk the gangway deep seated urban decay". Skinner proves himself to be a brilliant story teller such as on 'Geezers need excitement' or 'Don't Mug your self' a tale of a morning after in a 'greasy spoon cafeteria'.
Throughout the album Mike Skinner shows himself to be such an ordinary bloke that he's almost extra-ordinary, he tells his stories in first person, intelligent enough to realise the ironies of his tales but not enough to stop himself from being an active part in them. At times he's parodying laddish behaviour, and makes the case for the fact that it's really just a distraction from the boredom of everyday life. There's something for everyone to relate to on this album but "If you ain't feeling it, just be thankful that everything's cool in your world"

Musically the album is complety of its time, its a hip hop record but its rooted in the garage sound of the 00's and since garage is what dub-step evolved from I believe you can hear the genre's roots in this record. The range of sounds is hugely diverse. At times is bouncy and fun, at others is loud and dramatic (such as on the brilliant intro) while tracks like 'Weak Become Heroes' are more laid back and melancholic.

It's impressive how fresh and modern this album still sounds after 10 years, despite its 00's garage sound, it's partly down to the production but mainly because its 14 brilliant songs. Original Pirate Material is one of the best and most important records of the 00's and it was made by a Brummie.

I nicked the picture from another good article on this album.

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